沙巴体育在线

Jonas Lie (1880-1940), On the Wings of the Morning, circa 1924. 30 x 45 in (76.2 x 114.3 cm). Estimate $60,000-80,000. Offered in American Art Online, 23 July to 7 August 2020, online

Collecting guide: American Impressionism

An expert introduction to the movement and the contributions of its leading lights, from Cassatt to Hassam, Breck to Benson — featuring works offered at Christie’s

American Impressionism — at home and abroad

In the late 19th century, a period that witnessed the full flowering of the Impressionist movement, a handful of American artists — including , , , , Jane Peterson and — travelled to France. Many studied at the prestigious Académie Julian art school in Paris, and a number moved to Giverny to join the artist’s colony established by Monet.

At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, most of the American artists at Giverny returned home. There, many continued to paint in the Impressionist style, translating techniques first explored in France to American scenes.

Philip Leslie Hale (1865-1931), Light and Shade (Mrs. Hale in the Garden). Oil on canvas. 27¼ x 35½ in (69.2 x 90.2 cm). Estimate $70,000-100,000. Offered in American Art Online, 23 July to 7 August 2020, online
. Oil on canvas. 27¼ x 35½ in (69.2 x 90.2 cm). Estimate: $70,000-100,000. Offered in , 23 July to 7 August 2020, online

Who are the key artists to know?

沙巴体育在线 is widely credited with introducing Impressionism to American audiences. After working in Giverny, where he was briefly engaged to Monet’s stepdaughter Blanche, he returned to his native Boston, holding a solo exhibition at the city’s St. Botolph Club in 1890. He exhibited again in 1893, prompting a local critic to dub Breck ‘the head of the American Impressionists’. 

Considered to have been the leader of the Boston School, Frank Weston Benson is known for his pictures of New England, painted en plein air沙巴体育在线. This technique was also favoured by , the artist and teacher, who founded what became the .

Childe Hassam

Perhaps the most famous American Impressionist, however, is . Although he studied at the Académie Julian, he found it to be ‘the personification of routine’, seeking inspiration, instead, in the city’s bustling streets. 


Childe Hassam (1859-1935), Conversation on the Avenue, 1892. Oil on canvas. 16⅛ x 12⅝  in (41 x 32  cm). Sold for $2,412,500 on 22 May 2018 at Christie’s in New York 

Childe Hassam (1859-1935), Conversation on the Avenue, 1892沙巴体育在线. Oil on canvas. 16⅛ x 12⅝ in (41 x 32 cm). Sold for $2,412,500 on 22 May 2018 at Christie’s in New York 

Conversation on the Avenue, painted in 1892,  includes all the hallmarks of Hassam’s celebrated works from the 1890s, reflecting his fascination with his urban surroundings and the people he encountered, and demonstrating his growing ingenuity with Impressionist technique. Here, Hassam pays homage to the city and captures the unique, vibrant spirit of fin-de-siècle New York.

Childe Hassam (1859-1935), The Red Mill, Cos Cob, 1896. Oil on canvas. 16¾ x 24 in (42.4 x 61 cm). Estimate $200,000-300,000. Offered in American Art Online, 23 July to 7 August 2020, online
 Oil on canvas. 16¾ x 24 in (42.4 x 61 cm). Estimate: $200,000-300,000. Offered in , 23 July to 7 August 2020, online

Hassam’s paintings from the summers he spent on the New England coast are renowned for their vivacious depictions of quaint resort communities, their visitors, the sea and the flora. Incorporating all these elements into one panoramic work, The Red Mill, Cos Cob (1896) captures one of the most inspiring views of the region in the effervescent Impressionist style that earned Hassam the nickname of the ‘American Monet’.

Childe Hassam (1859-1935), Just Off the Avenue, Fifty-third Street, May 1916. Oil on canvas, 31¼ x 26½ in (79.4 x 67.3 cm). Sold for $2,407,500 on 23 May 2017 at Christie’s in New York 

Childe Hassam (1859-1935), Just Off the Avenue, Fifty-third Street, May 1916. Oil on canvas, 31¼ x 26½ in (79.4 x 67.3 cm). Sold for $2,407,500 on 23 May 2017 at Christie’s in New York 

沙巴体育在线His works depicting flags in New York during the First World War are among the most poignant and celebrated paintings of American Impressionism. His interest in flags dates back to the time he spent in Paris from 1886 to 1889, and was inspired by the flags and banners displayed on Bastille Day in the area where he lived.

Perhaps the strongest impetus behind such pictures, both in style and content, was the artist’s exposure to the works of the French Impressionists Claude Monet and . The lingering influence of the French Impressionist style is evident in the broken brushwork and vivid hues of Just Off the Avenue, Fifty-third Street, May 1916, 沙巴体育在线above, the first work in the flag series that Hassam painted during the war. 

Mary Cassatt

沙巴体育在线 (1844-1926) was born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, but home was Philadelphia, where she moved with her family at the age of five. For most of the 1850s, however, the family lived abroad, chiefly in France and Germany, exposing the young Cassatt to her first taste of European art and culture. 


Mary Cassatt (1844-1926), Two Little Sisters, circa 1901-02. Oil on canvas. 13 x 16¼ in (33 x 41.3 cm). Estimate $400,000-600,000. Offered in 
American Art Online
, 23 July to 7 August 2020, online

. Oil on canvas. 13 x 16¼ in (33 x 41.3 cm). Estimate: $400,000-600,000. Offered in , 23 July to 7 August 2020, online

沙巴体育在线In 1861, she enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and quickly proved to be a promising student. Eager to return to Europe, she set sail for France in 1866 at the age of 22 and soon gained acceptance in Parisian art circles. 

Bolstered by her first public success at the Salon of 1868, she decided to remain and pursue her career abroad, settling in Paris in 1875. As she developed a more progressive, painterly technique, her work captured the eye of Edgar Degas沙巴体育在线, who invited her to exhibit with the Impressionists.

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926), Girl in a Bonnet Tied with a Large Pink Bow. Oil on canvas. 26¾ x 22½ in (68 x 57.2 cm). Sold for $2,287,500 on 23 May 2017 at Christie’s in New York

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926), Girl in a Bonnet Tied with a Large Pink Bow沙巴体育在线. Oil on canvas. 26¾ x 22½ in (68 x 57.2 cm). Sold for $2,287,500 on 23 May 2017 at Christie’s in New York

Girl in a Bonnet Tied with a Large Pink Bow沙巴体育在线  (above), painted in 1909, demonstrates Cassatt’s position as one of the most famous female Impressionists. Her compositions increasingly reflected the tenets of Impressionism as she emphasised the effects of light and atmosphere, spontaneous and broken brushstrokes, a brighter palette and a focus on contemporary everyday life in her art. In particular, she focused on painting women indulging in leisure activities, such as shopping and the theatre, or interacting with their children. 

John Singer Sargent

Another leading American artist to experiment with Impressionist techniques was , now a household name. Sargent, who had an excellent command of French, first met Monet in 1876. It was in 1885, while visiting Giverny, that he painted his great impressionist work, .

James McNeill Whistler

had moved to Paris to study in 1855, and hit upon a style that sought to move beyond the work of the Impressionists in his circle, including Monet, Manet and Degas. Although not primarily concerned with exploring the effects of light, or capturing the fleeting moment, he shared the Impressionist interest in painting from life; atmosphere over detail; and the effects of colour — although his palette was more muted than that of his French contemporaries. 

According to Tate, which staged Turner Whistler Monet沙巴体育在线  in 2005, ‘Whistler and Monet were friends and collaborators who shared a deep admiration for the work of Turner. Their work and aims made a vital contribution both to the development of Impressionism... and the evolution of a symbolist landscape.’ 

Where did the American Impressionists paint?

The artists associated with American Impressionism worked across the US, but certain areas became particularly associated with the movement, as Giverny had been in France. Hassam, Breck and Sargent, for example, all painted on Ironbound Island, in Maine, which was owned by the Blaney family. The Blaneys mixed in prominent circles, and came into contact with a number of the American Impressionists, whom they invited to stay in their island home. 

A school of Pennsylvania Impressionism also emerged around the town of New Hope. Its luminaries included Daniel Garber, Robert Spencer and Edward Willis Redfield, who became especially celebrated for his winter scenes.

Maurice Brazil Prendergast (1859-1924), Ponte Gianbattista-Gallucioli, executed circa 1898-99. Watercolour and pencil on paper. 15 x 11 in (38.1 x 27.9 cm). Estimate $200,000-300,000. Offered in American Art Online, 23 July to 7 August 2020, online
. Watercolour and pencil on paper. 15 x 11 in (38.1 x 27.9 cm). Estimate: $200,000-300,000. Offered in , 23 July to 7 August 2020, online

How did American and French Impressionism differ?

Like their French counterparts, the American Impressionists each had their own distinct style, and depicted a range of subjects, from interior scenes to landscapes. In both France and America, classically Impressionist subjects emerged. Many American Impressionists painted the New England coastline, exploring the effect of light on water, as Monet had in France. The views they captured, however — such as Childe Hassam’s  — were distinctly New World.

 

John Henry Twachtman (1853-1902), Middlebrook Farm, painted circa 1888. . Oil on canvas. 18 x 29 in (45.7 x 73.7 cm). Estimate $60,000-80,000. Offered in American Art Online, 23 July to 7 August 2020, online
. Oil on canvas. 18 x 29 in (45.7 x 73.7 cm). Estimate: $60,000-80,000. Offered in , 23 July to 7 August 2020, online

Is interest growing in American Impressionism?

In 2016, William Merritt Chase was celebrated with in Boston, while London’s National Portrait Gallery hosted a much-acclaimed retrospective of Sargent’s portraits. Childe Hassam was the subject of an exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachussetts, entitled the , which took its name from the group of small, rocky islands off the Gulf of Maine, which the artist painted en plein air